Saturday, March 3, 2012

Action Alert: Encourage Red Sox & Twins management to provide bike parking for games

Last Saturday's "Pedal to the Park" was a big success, with 300 cyclists using the bike parking corral and saving 2-3 acres of automobile parking,  88% asking for biking options at JetBlue Park, and 76% wanting to ride bikes to future games.  Since 32% of the cyclists on Saturday were tourists (note:  20% of the tourists who come to Lee County say they bike while here) and with major traffic jams on Daniels Parkway around game time at both stadiums, and  with traffic the number one complaint by tourists,  and since tourist tax dollars are paying for the stadium...not to mention that the Red Sox built JetBlue park to be sustainable, emphasizing reduced parking and alternative modes of transportation when they were building the stadium and are now in the process of seeking  LEED would think that it would be a "win-win-win" for the Red Sox to encourage their fans to bike to the games to reduce the car traffic, and to provide safe bike parking while they're there.

Despite that bike parking reduces traffic and aggravation for drivers, reduces pollution, and is tourist-friendly, we've received no response to our memo to Red Sox management recommending that bike parking be made available at games, and the informal word is that they only want to focus on parking CARS.  The stadium is supposed to have bike racks for 45 bikes (not nearly enough) that weren't installed last weekend but we've been told that they are supposed to be up this weekend.  If you biked to the game today, let us know what you experienced.

We had high expectations for this facility when the Red Sox management sent a letter (10/20/11) to Secretary LaHood in support of the Lee MPO TIGER III application for a complete streets initiative.  The letter stated, "...this facility is designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and environmental Design Certification and will be a sustainable development.  The Boston Red Sox and Lee County are committed to making JetBlue Park accessible by multiple modes of transportation for a variety of activities and events such as soccer tournaments, concerts, and of course baseball.  This is evidenced by a shared parking agreement that was developed with the intent of promoting alternatives to single-occupancy vehicle travel to and from games and events."

We hope that Red Sox management will reconsider their current exclusive focus on cars and return to the vision that is reflected in the above letter.

While our focus has been on the new JetBlue stadium, bike parking facilities are also needed at the Twins stadium just 5 miles on the other end of Daniels Parkway.  The Lee County Sports Authority is currently working with the Twins management on this issue.

Many of you who biked to JetBlue Park last Saturday asked us how to contact Red Sox management to encourage them to continue to provide bike parking for games.  So, if you're interested in seeing bike parking facilities at the games, here's who to e-mail or call:

Katie Haas, Red Sox management: (or 239-226-4760)
Twins: (or 239-768-4210)
Jeff Mielke, Lee County Sports Authority (or 239-344-5201)

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